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Comment Explosion on the Collin County DA’s “Investigation”

I recently showcased an article, “Two Local Judges Investigated in Grand Jury Investigation”  by the Collin County Observer.

In general, I don’t like just grabbing an entire article and posting in on our blog.  I instead try to post and show my take on the matter.  But his article was too good on the matter to do anything but post the entire article.

What I have found interesting, is not just the article itself, but the massive amounts of comments about the article.  As of today, there are 64 comments on the article.  I think that is the new story of the day.

I am posting the responses to the article below.  It is interesting the progression from anonymous comments, to non-anonymous comments.  Specifically with local attorney who often are the targets of these investigations.

Below are the comments from the site:

 

Comment from: FM Voter [Visitor]
Mr. Willis has served the citizens of Collin County with the utmost integrity and he will continue to do so if elected as our next DA. What happened to our secretive grand jury process? What a shame that this information is out in the public. This entire situation smells of political intimidation
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 09:43
Comment from: Christobell [Visitor]
Bill, thank you for tracking down this story. Both Jill and Greg Willis are honorable public servants. This certainly sounds like a political witch hunt.
In regards to Judge Wooten, wouldn’t the Ethics Commission be the one filing charges, or am I mistaken.
I hope Judge Willis is our next District Attorney.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 10:21

 

Comment from: Lindy [Visitor]

Having know Judge Willis for several years as a private citizen, he and his wife have my utmost respect because of their integrity in their private as well as their public lives.

The fact that this has leaked from a Grand Jury proceeding should send up red flags to everyone.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 10:36
Comment from: Friend of Justice [Visitor]
The Texas Attorney General should provide oversight over this matter. The reputation of Collin County has declined severely under John Roach. I believe Willis to be an honest and fair man, so I welcome a special prosecutor in the case.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 10:49
Comment from: bill [Member]

FM & Lindy,

I couldn’t disagree more. The problem is not that these issues have become public. The problem is that they are happening at all.

Injustice done in secret is still injustice.

Thank you for your comments.

Bill

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:01
Comment from: bill [Member]

Christobell,

I’m not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that venue for campaign ethics violations is Generally in Travis County, and usually AFTER the Texas Ethics Commission has failed to get satisfaction.

Look at the Priddy case in Dallas. First the ethics commission fined him, then they fined him again, then the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled with a warning. Taking a campaign ethics case directly to a Grand Jury looks to be to be highly irregular.

I’d welcome any comments from attorneys familiar with the law and remedies on campaign ethics.

Bill

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:07
Comment from: FM Voter [Visitor]
Perhaps I didn’t state that the correct way. I agree with you Bill. Injustice in any form, public or private, is injustice. As you stated, the problem is that these issues are happening at all.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:17
Comment from: Interested Observer [Visitor]
If you dig a little deeper into Willis’s background, especially during the time he was a prosecutor with Collin County, you just might find more information that shows he is not qualified to be the next DA of Collin County.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:19
Comment from: Anon [Visitor]

Interested Observer,

I assume that you are referencing the altered and inconsistent Willis personnel file that DA Roach is giving to anyone who asks him – in violation of county policy.

Roach and his office using the Grand Jury for this type of activity is in violation of many laws, both State and Federal. If he has abused his office in this manner he and his assistants have committed first degree felonies and can be imprisoned for 5 to 99 years and fined $10,000 each.

Even by forcing Judge Wooten to not hear criminal cases they are impeding her ability to perform her lawful duties and are guilty of official oppression – a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $4,000 fines.

It is time for the District Judges to stand up to the oppressive and illegal actions that have been practiced in this county since Roach took office.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:37
Comment from: Drinda Randall [Visitor] · http://DinPlano
I believe it is an injustice that anyone can slander a person’s reputation without consequences. This is dirty Chicago-style politics. Luckily Texans are far more aware of when something doesn’t smell right. Americans are sick and tired of these petty games that would keep a good, ethical person from running. This is not a game to us anymore. We want action and return of ethics in our courts. We need Mr. Willis. He is everything we would want in a ethical, God-fearing politician. I have met him numerous times and you can see this is not a game to him he wants to do right by our citizens and our country. I pray we get more like him. So good luck with the ‘case’ against him because the good guys want their country back!
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 11:40
Comment from: Tom Daley [Visitor]

In my dealings with Judge Wooten in her court, I have found her to know the law and apply it with an even hand. That is a much bigger statement than anyone has made about her predecessor in a very long time.

I’m not impressed by general allegations of campaign finance “irregularities.” In my last campaign, my opponent and I watched each other’s Federal Election Commission filings like (hungry) hawks and, yes, both of us received letters from the FEC informing us that one report or another needed to be filed differently or with additional information. But neither of us ever made an issue of it–because it’s not an issue.

Already the families, the accused, and businesses in Collin County must wait for justice because there are too many cases and too few courts. It’s a huge disappointment to me that we will have to forego the careful jurisprudence of Judge Wooten in criminal matters until this witch hunt is over. The people of Collin County deserve better and they got better when we overwhelmingly elected Judge Wooten in 2008.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 12:26
Comment from: Jonathan G [Visitor] · http://Roaches are meant to be stepped on!

It is quite clear that the DA and his team are going to waste tax payers dollars and try to smear a man full of integrity who is the front runner. People like the “Roaches” obviously are out for ill intent and also are what makes our political system drive away good people from running for political office…..Roach – I hope you get taken DOWN AND OUT of your JOB for this immature and irresponsible behavior – Tax payers HAVE ENOUGH.

Concerned citizen!

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 12:36
Comment from: Jim [Visitor]
More than anyone, the public demands that Judges FOLLOW THE LAW. That is in following the laws in campaigns, their court and activities and their personal lives. Let’s wait and see what a grand jury says when they have reviewed the real evidence and not the rumor evidence. Wooten’s win was attributed to her opposition’s use of a controversial drug to fix drug use. I am not sure it was quite that simple.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 12:56
Comment from: Joan Q [Visitor]
Unbelieveable! I would like to know who in the world is policing the District Attorney’s office. It is hard to believe that our tax dollars are contributing to such corruption. Greg Willis was most probably the most honest, hard working, respectable judge that Collin County has seen. That the “DA” office is “investigating” him for anything is infuriating. Mr. Roach, stop the maddness. Why don’t you quit “investigating” lawyers and judges and get back to the job that the citizens of Collin County really need you to do. Fight Crime. Good Grief!
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 12:57
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]
It’s a modern day Collin County witch hunt.
Yes, Jim, Judges do need to Follow the Law but by golly so does the District Attorney’s office!
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 13:01
Comment from: Allen Resident [Visitor]
So, how do we know what’s really going on? We moved here because it seemed like a nice place to live, not corrupt like some places. I am trying to keep up with the happenings in Collin County, but this makes my head spin, How do we find out the truth?
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 13:06
Comment from: Friend of Justice [Visitor]
Roach did not prosecute the men caught in the Murphy pedophile case and let those men go free. But now he is going after the judges instead? Roach has his priorities all wrong. He should be trying to find Ashley Estelle’s killer.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 13:56
Comment from: Interested Observer [Visitor]
This is not just about the possible irregular authorization of payments to defense attorneys representing indigent defendants. You might want to check with the prosecutors who practiced in his court and ask them why they stopped doing bench trials to him. You might find that he was finding too many defendants ‘not guilty’. Is that what you want in a DA? You might also take a look at his personnel evaluations when he was a prosecutor. They are public record and can be obtained. Do we want a DA who, according to the evaluations, showed poor judgment, did not know the law, did not prepare, did not follow policy, and treated his subordinates poorly?
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 15:23
Comment from: Justice Wanted [Visitor]

Interested Observer wrote:

“You might want to check with the PROSECUTORS who practiced in his court and ask them why THEY stopped doing bench trials to him.

You might find that he was FINDING TOO MANY DEFENDANTS ‘NOT GUILTY’.

Is that what you want in a DA?”

This peculiar smear campaign response is quite telling, isn’t it?

FIRST:

Note that “Interested Observer” speaks of asking prosecutors – not lawyers of all types – but only prosecutors. Why is that?

I’ll tell you why.

Because “Interested Observer” is only “interested” in keeping a job.

You see, this person works in the DA’s office and doubtless will be impacted by the very much needed heavy duty house steam-cleaning and defumigation of the stench reeking from the Collin County District Attorneys Office headed by the secretive “ego-meister”, John Roach.

SECOND:

As if to underscore my point, look at the wildly warped mindset of this DA’s office employee.

Is JUSTICE the concern mentioned?

Hardly. What is mentioned as an issue of concern is that too many people WERE FOUND INNOCENT.

And that means the prosecutors looked bad. Think about it.

How bad is the case when the State, with all of its’ immense powers, can not prove its’ charges?

When the State can’t substantiate its’ charges, the defendant is innocent. Which of course IS EXACTLY what we DO want to happen.

Innocent people should not be convicted, much less even charged.

BUT, if as does “Interested Observer”, you were to work in our DA’s office where Convict At All Costs is the main goal –

and your career and paycheck are dependent upon convictions –

instead of Justice At All Costs –

then you have a problem when the roaches crawl back under the refrigerator.

So what does “Interested Observer” do? Take a page right out of the Collin County DA handbook:

1) Conduct a smear campaign,

2) divert attention from the issues at hand, and

3) hide behind smokescreens as typified by our State’s penchant for holding grand jury hearings in secret from the public.

(Or for deigning long decided issues as being “under investigation” forever so that Freedom Of Information Act requests will be denied – forever.)

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 16:46
Comment from: Philip W. Moore, Jr. [Visitor] · http://www.pwm-law.com
I don’t practice criminal law, and have no personal knowledge of the investigation regarding Greg Willis. With that said, I can comment on his personal reputation for integrity, honesty and overall exceptional character. The investigation involving Greg Willis had better hold water, because he is a man who’s worthy of his good reputation. No political investigation should be allowed to take that away from him.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 16:53
Comment from: Philip W. Moore, Jr. [Visitor] · http://www.pwm-law.com

Interested Observer,

Greg Willis has been a prosecutor, a defense attorney and a judge. He’s got the most complete perspective of any candidate for the DAs office. An elected DA is elected to administer justice, not simply to get convictions. Your comments are so outrageous that they should be unconstitutional.
Indeed, if Judge Willis conducted trials before him as you suggest, his actions would indeed be unconstitutional. How do you determine how many cases should result in a criminal conviction? Not long after Greg Willis took the CC at Law 6 bench, a client of mine (Larry Crow) had a son of his (don’t remember his name) get thrown in jail for driving in excess of 100 mph on the George Bush Turnpike while he was drunk. If I recall correctly, the kid (23 or 23 at the time) was more reckless than he was intoxicated. What happened to the him? He got the biggest sentence that he could have gotten. Is that tough enough for you, Interested Observer?

-Philip

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 17:52
Comment from: Philip W. Moore, Jr. [Visitor] · http://www.pwm-law.com

Jim,

I thought Sandoval lost because he treated attorneys and litigants poorly. Moreover, Sandoval was the least regarded judge amongst the members of the bar for years. Sandoval also got lazy in a campaign where his opponent was motivated and had a good chance of ousting the incumbent. Yes, Sandoval came across as a puppet for Prometa, which is an expensive and ineffective treatment for methamphetamine addiction that Sandoval tested on “voluntary participants” like lab rats. There’s just too much out there about Sandoval to surmise that he lost to Wooten because of election law irregularities.

Regards,

Philip.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 19:17
Comment from: Collin County Taxpayer [Visitor]

Wasn’t Mr. Roach the same DA that let hundreds of pedophiles lose in the Murphy sting – Perverted Justice?

I don’t put much stock in the opinions of those who turn pedophiles lose to molest more children.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Catch_a_Predator#Murphy.2C_Texas

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 19:26
Comment from: tired taxpayer/employee [Visitor]
I am a firm believer in what goes around comes around and I think that things just might be coming around for Roach. Finally! We have watched this evil man corrupt this county for years. It almost seems that his daily goal is to see how many lives he can destroy. I will be glad when he is finally investigated and is brought down. I know firsthand, I am a Collin County employee!
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 19:45
Comment from: Collin County Citizen [Visitor]

OK… There are a lot of issues coming about.

First, it concerns me that a former judge is permitted to bring criminal allegations PERSONALLY to the grand jury. As a normal citizen, none of us conventionally have the right to pursue our own claims before the grant jury. We have to go through the DA’s office. Perhaps there is some loop hole which Sandoval is exploiting, but it seems that Sandoval simply needs to move on. The election was nearly 2 years ago, and since then he has fought (and lost) to become a visiting judge in Collin County, the Dallas County, and now he’s individually prosecuting his replacement? When will Sandoval be put out to pasture?

Secondly, John Roach has served the people of Collin County for a long time. Collin County has a reputation for being tough on crime, and I think that’s a good thing. But, what ‘tough on crime’ means is that people who commit relatively minor offenses are punished. I think its unfair to hate John Roach for not prosecuting the parade of NBC’s To Catch a Predator. That was an embarrassment, and Roach was recognized for his restraint. That’s largely regarded in the legal community as the right choice. Also, I don’t think a county employee should ambiguously call him an “evil man” without substantive evidence and examples. Being a county employee you surely see things on the inside. But, that raises the bar to provide examples, not rhetoric, in accusing elected officials. By all means, if you have concrete information – bring it forward!

I agree with Bill that the current DA must step aside in the investigation of a Collin County judge running to be the successor. But, I have to point out that a similar situation is going on in Dallas County. 7 – SEVEN – Criminal judges have paid DA Watkin’s wife THOUSANDS of $$$$$ for ‘political consulting’. Surely, that doesn’t pass the smell test any more than Roach investigating his potential successor. My point here is that these things are happening on BOTH sides of the isle.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 20:21
Comment from: Joe Jaynes [Visitor] · http://www.joejaynes.com
Greg Willis for DA!
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 20:23
Comment from: Collin County Attorney [Visitor]

Using the grand jury as a way of settling scores is an outrageous abuse of the legal system.

Suzanne Wooten is a fine judge and it is a disgrace that she is subjected to this “investigation” because of political motivation.

Investigating Greg Willis because of a dispute over fee payments to defense attorneys is ridiculous. If there is a dispute, maybe other measures could be taken like, oh I don’t know, a discussion, etc. But a grand jury investigation?

Greg Willis for DA can’t happen soon enough. Go Greg!!!

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 23:00
Comment from: Jean Power [Visitor]

Suzanne Wooten has been an excellent judge and applies the law to the facts – the way it should be done.

I am looking forward to the election of Greg Willis for DA. He is the most qualified of the candidates that I know of.

Permalink 11/19/09 @ 23:05
Comment from: eric lafleur [Member]
I always enjoyed wokingwith Greg Willis, both when I was in the DA’s Office and he was a defense atorney, and later when I was a defense attorney and he was a judge. I really wish he’d kept his bench, or run for another one. But I believe the most qualified candidate for District Attorney is Jeff Bray.
Permalink 11/19/09 @ 23:43
Comment from: Interested Observer [Visitor]
It’s pretty funny watching the Willis PR train at work. I am not a current prosecutor of the Collin County DA’s office, don’t know any of the players, including Roach or any of his prosecutors, and frankly, have no skin in this game other than wanting to ensure full transparency for the DA election. Spin it however you want, but if prosecutors in Willis’s court won’t try bench trials in front of him because they don’t have confidence in him, then why should Collin County have confidence in him being tough on crime? And it’s funny that no one has responded to my query to take a look at Willis’s evaluations when he was actually a Collin County prosecutor.
Permalink 11/20/09 @ 06:48
Comment from: Collin County Attorney [Visitor]

I know several current and former prosecutors who support Greg Willis

Prosecutors who whine that a judge may actually find a defendant guilty should either

a. work harder and follow the rules of evidence like all the other attorneys do and

b. maybe not indict everyone who looks at them sideways.

I heard these same whiney complaints about Judge Copeland before he was a probate judge – “oh no! he actually makes the prosecutors meet their burden of prrof!” “Oh no, he actually finds defendants not guilty when our case blows!”

And no one cares about a personnel evaluation done by someone who obviously has a grudge against a candidate.

Some
one please call this person a Whaaaaambulance

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 07:03
Comment from: Justice Wanted [Visitor]

Bill has redacted for name calling and asks that all comments be kept civil.
Bill

Interested Observer wrote:

“It’s pretty funny watching the Willis PR train at work.

I am not a CURRENT prosecutor of the Collin County DA’s office, don’t know any of the players, including Roach or any of his prosecutors, ………..”

OK now we’re playing poorly planned word games. Note the incrementalist wordage “CURRENT” in the sentence above, spinning “Interested Observer” a little closer to the truth.

This person is in fact a CC DA employee afraid of job loss.

Oddly, this person then actually writes of knowing none of the DA office players (in fact not even Roach or any ADA’s) but then goes on smearing one of the players, specifically Judge Willis who happens to be seeking the office.

Next our petty character assassin mouthpiece, “Interested Observer”, vainly attempts a distraction by insinuating that the weary public’s outrage regarding John Roach and his band of cronies is merely PR work and specifically PR work for Judge Willis.

My points, made earlier and now, would be the same regardless of the candidates to replace the [REDACTED]. They would be the same if “Interested Observer’s” comments were about “Judge Judy” on TV.

“Interested Observer’s” twisted montage of mentally challenged, off point thoughts shows why CC prosecutors lose cases. And that reason remains that their Convict At All Costs mentality and “ethics” don’t hold water. Clearly the tired non sequitur rhetoric of being “tough on crime” equating with convictions is just that – a non sequitur. But “Interested Observer” clings fast to the politics, PR and practices of the Roach administration with a death grip. Small minds cling to small ideals.

What Collin County desperately needs is a Justice At All Cost district attorney in office as well as Justice At All Cost jurists on the benches. It is long past time for a serious house cleaning. Innocent Collin County residents’ lives are at stake. We all should be treated fairly, not as just notches on the prosecutors’ belts hoarded up to boost their paychecks.

For the record, I support any candidate, regardless of political party, etc., etc. that understands that the “duty of the District Attorney is to seek Justice, not convictions”.

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 09:54
Comment from: bill [Member]

I’m glad to see a spirited discussion of justice issues.

However, The Observer asks that you keep the discussion civil. I will not tolerate name calling or rude behavior.

I will delete all posts that do not meet a standard of “common courtesy”

Bill

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 10:20
Comment from: Justice Wanted [Visitor]

Sorry Bill.

I had to go back to find the offensive word because it didn’t come to mind.

It turns out, I used the name of a pesky insect as an all too convenient, hopefully humorous, metaphor for the current DA and his practices and legacy. I mention this only because I do not want readers of your fine reports to think that I stooped to using profanity in making my comments.

I did not and would not.

Admittedly, I do appreciate turns of a phrase in speech or the written word. However, my intention was not to name call with any untoward intent. I apologize.

Readers should simply replace the redacted word with the word “district attorney”.

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 11:21
Comment from: Collin County Republican Men’s Club Member [Visitor]
Last night, the Collin County Republican Men’s Club had their monthly meeting. I did NOT attend because they had Roach as the speaker. That really made me question the leadership of the Club.
Permalink 11/20/09 @ 11:41
Comment from: No Incumbents 2010 [Visitor]
No one should be above the law, even a judge. And running for DA does not give you immunity from law violations. The DA can’t indict anyone, that decision is made by a grand jury. A lot of people here are expressing their opinion without knowing the facts. No one should be afraid that a grand jury is allowed to hear evidence. This is entirely appropriate under our criminal justice system no matter who the target of the investigation is. What is more outrageous is that Judge Jill Willis continues to hear criminal cases creating the appearance of favoritism towards defense attorneys who support her husband’s DA campaign. Having said that, Greg Willis is completely unqualified for DA. Unless you think doing misdemeanor plea deals gives you all the state criminal trial experience a Texas DA needs to be a hands-on, ready-on-day-one leader/mentor of felony prosecutors. How many felony jury trials has Willis done as a prosecutor? There seems to be a lot of mindless following of the herd on this one as opposed to an objective evaluation on the merits of the various candidates and their public service/law enforcement record.
Permalink 11/20/09 @ 11:44
Comment from: Collin County Republican Men’s Club Member [Visitor]

No Incumbents 2010-

I don’t understand how Greg’s qualifications and Roach’s indictment are related?

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 11:54
Comment from: No Incumbents 2010 [Visitor]
Collin County Republican Men’s Club Member- The grand jury has not yet issued any indictments. However I agree with you that many prefer to ignore the subject of Willis’ qualifications, or lack thereof. My point is that Willis’ people are using the fact that he is a candidate for office, to argue that the grand jury investigation is, ipso facto, “politically motivated” … of course, the people who say this are not privy to the evidence, whatever it may be. This argument essentially says that if you are a candidate for office you are entitled to immunity from grand jury investigation. Nothing is more un-American than immunity from prosecution because you have political connections. The law is the law. We just need to allow the grand jury to complete its investigation without interference, instead of prematurely charging bias when we haven’t even seen the evidence.
Permalink 11/20/09 @ 14:41
Comment from: bill [Member]

No Incumbents,

I disagree.

The problem is that the DA is investigating judges whose courts he and his staff appear in daily.

If he has a credible complaint against a sitting judge OR a candidate for his office, then he should immediately recuse the Collin County DA’s Office and seek an outside prosecutor.

Otherwise, anything he does will be perceived as politically motivated.

Once again, I call on John Roach to stop the investigations, appoint an outside prosecutor and a new, untainted Grand Jury. Either do that or drop the cases entirely.

Bill

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 15:11
Comment from: Interested Observer [Visitor]
Wrong again, Justice Wanted. I’ve NEVER been a Collin County prosecutor, have no connection with any of the Collin County prosecutors and have never met Roach. My “twisted montage of mentally challenged, off point thoughts” are simply those of a concerned citizen who wants Collin County to elect a DA who is qualified for the job. Oh, and how Willis, purportedly with only two years experience prosecuting felony cases, and reportably no felony jury trials, thinks he is qualified to be the district attorney in a county of 850,000 people is beyond me.
Permalink 11/20/09 @ 15:23
Comment from: Local Attorney [Visitor]

This situation is not about who is most qualified to be the next DA or judge, its about the routine abuse of power by DA Roach and his pitbull Milner. They are continuing a pattern of using the grand jury as willing pawns in their aggressive intimidation of persons who fail to fall in line with their personal agendas.

Bill did a good job chronicling the public failures of Milner’s high-profile investigations, but there are many lesser known investigations which have also blown up in their faces, and they refuse to learn from their mistakes. Roach has tarnished his former solid reputaton a
s a district judge by either directing or allowing his minions to pursue baseless charges for political purposes. And he compounds that abuse of power by being so arrogant as to refuse to apoint a special prosecutor to even examine the allegaions in a fair and unpolitical manner.

Perhaps its because he is an absentee landlord, (now spending all his time at his new home in Angelfire, NM) but he seems to view himself as the King of the county and therefore untoucable and unaccountable to the public. (Do a google search of his comments on various issues over the past few years and you will find lots of statements where he is touting his own authority and power and daring anyone to defy him.)

If Roach doesnt want Willis to be the next DA, then he should be a man and run against him or help support his own hand-picked successor (like most kings prefer to do) but instead he is misusing the power of his office to acheive a political purpose.

That is not just dirty politics, its a criminal offense and hopefully the U.S. Attorney’s office or some other strong-minded individuals will hold him and his dogs accountable for it in the future.

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 15:42
Comment from: Justice Wanted [Visitor]

No Incumbents 2010 wrote:

“This argument essentially says that if you are a candidate for office you are entitled to immunity from grand jury investigation.

NOTHING IS MORE UN-AMERICAN THAN IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION BECAUSE YOU HAVE POLITICAL CONNECTIONS.

The law is the law.”

Then why does John Roach and his underlings in fact argue in high court(s) that they are immune from prosecution, simply because of their job titles in cases where they have admittedly broken statutes in the Texas State legal code?

I agree that immunity from prosecution when lawbreaking occurs, politically motivated or not, is patently un-American.

Those arguing for their own immunity such as “Roach et al” are also patently un-American and brazenly hold themselves above the law and the citizens of Collin County.

Yes, “the law is the law”.

But not, apparently, for them.

And that friends, is the problem and the point of this debate (not who the candidates are).

(And for “Interested Observer”: “Sure, sure. Whatever you say …… But I fear thou dost protest too much”)

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 16:22
Comment from: Friend of Justice [Visitor]

Local Attorney said: “If Roach doesnt want Willis to be the next DA, then he should be a man and run against him or help support his own hand-picked successor (like most kings prefer to do) but instead he is misusing the power of his office to acheive a political purpose.”

Local Attorne, you might be on to something—he could be clearing the way for his son, Judge John Roach, Jr., to file at the last minute to be a candidate for DA. Pappa would have to get rid of the competition first. The strategy looks to be working so far.

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 18:46
Comment from: Minor Correction [Visitor]

Not commenting on the rest of this at this point, but, Bill?

“According to court house insiders, it is likely that former judge Robert Sandoval filed his charges against Judge Wooten directly with the grand jury. Sandoval is said to still bear a grudge against Wooten who beat him handily in the 2008 election.”

Don’t you mean Charles Sandoval?

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 18:47
Comment from: bill [Member]

Thank you Minor… I plead “senior moment”

Bill

Permalink 11/20/09 @ 20:11
Comment from: Michael [Visitor]
The higher ups at the DA’s office have openly said they are trying to derail Willis’ campaign.
Permalink 11/21/09 @ 20:01
Comment from: Dumbfounded [Visitor]
Too bad channel 8 news can’t just access everything and expose the full story on all this. When Roach is in control of the “facts” and leaks out there, he’s the golden boy with snowy hair. When channel 8 news uncovers just the tiniest bit of what’s he and his regime have really been doing, he’s on the defense and sends a blizzard of indictments at anyone he can use to divert attention and blame — e.g., the Honorable Greg Willis. Law and politics both require people. People are fundamentally flawed to widely varying degrees. Even when Roach is gone, these themes will continually replay themselves.
Permalink 11/21/09 @ 20:23
Comment from: Attorney Christine [Visitor]
CLUE IN: ONE. Same investigation on Willis took place previously and was closed. Why is the same investigation reopened just a few weeks after Willis announces his candidacy for DA? What “new” evidence are they hoping to find, if there was any in the first place why was the first investigation closed? TWO. INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION: If there was any merit to this, Roach would have done the right thing and handed this off to an independent agency. You don’t indict Judges from your same county- PERIOD. THREE. “Interested Observer” is not a current employee, he is a candidate, I have heard him use the same words verbatim in a conversation where he told outright lies about Willis. He also says he was never a Collin County prosecutor- because he was a prosecutor in another county. In response to “interested observer” taking issue with Willis finding the ACCUSED not guilty, maybe that is because the DA’s office is so overzealous in their filings and file any case whether there is decent evidence or not- defense attorneys who rightly force the system to work, take these cases to trial…the DA’s don’t want to waste time on a jury trial knowing they are going to lose, so they set it for a trial before the Judge. Then Willis, whose job is to call the balls and strikes, ends up doing the right thing and gets slammed for it. WAKE UP COLLIN COUNTY- CONVICTIONS DO NOT EQUAL JUSTICE AND DO NOTHING TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION AND EVERYTHING THIS COUNTRY HAS FOUGHT AND STANDS FOR. THANK YOU FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING AND STANDING UP TO ROACH’S ADMINISTRATION.
Permalink 11/21/09 @ 20:28
Comment from: Friend of Justice [Visitor]
Roach is like the evil Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life” in trying to bring down George Bailey. Greg Willis is George Bailey and the most popular man in town!
Permalink 11/21/09 @ 20:35
Comment from: Jsmith [Visitor]

Answer me this, there is a rumor that an ADA with Collin County named Jeff Leeman (sp?) is somehow involved as both a witness and investigator on these cases.

I have heard that this same ADA was assigned to Judge Greg Willis, Judge Jill Willis and Judge Wooten’s courts. He apparently made negative public comments and was openly hostile to all three judges. Then magically in October, Leeman was promoted/assigned to the department pursuing Judge Greg Willis and Judge Wooten, headed up by that Chris Milner guy. How in the world does a DA’s office run a fair and impartial investigation if one of their own has a vested interest in the outcome? Coincidence?

Permalink 11/22/09 @ 17:48
Comment from: Concerned Collin Co Citizen [Visitor]

I had a friend forward me this story. I am not a lawyer or anyone involved in “Collin County Politics.” BUT, I AM A VOTER.

This makes me sick to my stomach. John R. Roach seems to me to be a man who will stop at nothing to control Collin County Politics. Using the grand jury process to go after politicians in this county is nothing less than an ABUSE OF POWER.

But, I am not surprised. I attended a Collin County Republican Men’s Club meeting last week where Roach announced that he was “the Most powerful elected official in Collin County.” Really? Does he really need to stroke that ego anymore?

This is sickening. And this Chris Milner guy doesn’t care about the truth or about whether o
r not he can take a case all the way to a convicition. ALL HE CARES ABOUT IS AN INDICTMENT.

It’s time that John Roach stops ruining peoples’ lives and to GO AWAY.

The people of Collin County should DEMAND that that building named after him be re-named immediately.

Hello FBI? John Roach and his subordinates are NOT ABOVE THE LAW and need to be held accountable!

Permalink 11/22/09 @ 18:03
Comment from: Joan Q [Visitor]
The comments that Willis did not find enough citizens “not guilty” disgust me. That is such a prosecutorial mindset, it’s obvious. I am sorry. Is this America, or not. Are we guilty until proven innocent or innocent until proven guilty. Wait a second. I think I am on to something. Perhaps if Willis was finding too many citizens “not guilty”, it is a reflection of poor, poor work on behalf of the prosecutor in the case. So, instead of pointing fingers at the former judge, why don’t you just look in the mirror and ask yourself why is it that you did not adequately prove your case? Or perhaps, just perhaps, the accused person was NOT GUILTY. Just because one is arrested and even indicted does not mean that they are GUILTY. If this were the case, then throw out the legal system all together. Let’s just hire more cops. You better not leave your house, friends, because there will be no justice left in the world. Thank you GREG WILLIS, for looking at each case with honesty, integrity, and concern for the citizen and citizens of this district. If my family members are ever falsely accused or victims of a crime, I would hope either way, that they would be in a court of a judge equal to Greg Willis!
Permalink 11/22/09 @ 23:05
Comment from: Scared Boy [Visitor]

Deleted by Bill

Please argue the issues. Name calling is offensive, not helpful.

The standard here for comments is “common courtesy”. Please abide by it.

Bill

Permalink 11/22/09 @ 23:39
Comment from: Tony Vitz [Visitor]

Yes, I used my real name and that could very well make me a target. But, I refuse to allow fear to control me. This abusive Roach Regime is completely wrong. There are some good Assistant D.A.s in that office, but they don’t have to courage to speak up. That is sad, but understandable. It takes courage to speak up. Courage is what it takes to overcome or deal with fear. I thank people like Judge Wooten and Greg Willis for being an example of refusing to give in to the fear imposed by this administration.

With what the Collin County D.A.’s Office has been doing and continues to do, I think about that quote from Martin Neimoller, “In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist….then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up”. I think it is past time to speak up in Collin County.

Thanks Bill for making a dent in what’s been going on.

Permalink 11/23/09 @ 09:59
Comment from: William D. Rowlett [Visitor]

I’m really disappointed at the politics in this county. It reminds me of being an 8th grader & you called someone (or were called by someone else) a “fag” (I hope I’ve not flunked Bill’s civility test) because of some petty feud you had with them. There’s way too much petty feuding going on.

If there are negative comments in Mr. Willis’ DA personnel file, I ask who wrote them? Is it someone who had a beef with him? Second, Willis left the DA Office a good ten years ago or longer. If the comments are negative and actually true, who is to say Mr. Willis has not matured a bit since then and become a better man for it? Third, I can only tell you that in MY dealings with Mr. Willis, he’s always been very professional and above-board the past many years I’ve known him. I trust my own instincts about someone I know more than what his detractors may want me to believe.

Finally, I intend to support Mr. Willis because he may , MAY be able to restore a little “maturity” to some of the childish politics going on at the courthouse.

Permalink 11/23/09 @ 15:00
Comment from: Paul D. Key [Visitor]

What John Roach is doing is absolutely shameful and a sad legacy to leave behind. Bill, you’ve called it exactly right: If Roach thinks something is going on, then he should ask that a special prosecutor be appointed. Thank you for shedding some light on this filth.

I have no doubt that Greg Willis has done absolutely nothing illegal or unethical. Same goes for Judge Wooten.

You would think that Roach would be embarrassed to associate with that Milner guy after all the fiascos he’s been involved in. That’s when you realize that it’s not Milner, it’s Roach. Roach is the one who thinks all of this nonesense is a good idea.

Permalink 11/23/09 @ 18:07
Comment from: Paul D. Key [Visitor]

Interested Observer said:

Spin it however you want, but if prosecutors in Willis’s court won’t try bench trials in front of him because they don’t have confidence in him, then why should Collin County have confidence in him being tough on crime?

It wasn’t the DA’s in his court, it was Roach who wouldn’t let them try cases to Willis. In fact, they defied those orders all the time and tried cases to Willis. In fact, they would routinely beg me and many other attorneys to set cases for bench trials because they didn’t want to embarrass themselves in front of a jury.

Permalink 11/23/09 @ 18:22
Comment from: Paul D. Key [Visitor]

Interested Observer said:

“You might want to check with the prosecutors who practiced in his court and ask them why they stopped doing bench trials to him. You might find that he was finding too many defendants ‘not guilty'[sic].”

Which prosecutors? Apparently, you’ve spoken with them. Tell me who they are, and I’ll call them, and we’ll just see what they have to say.

Better yet, Interested Observer, who are you? It’s easy to cower behind a pseudonym and make a bunch of exegerated claims about what anonymous prosecutors think. If you want someone to take you seriously, give us some names, starting with yours.

Permalink 11/23/09 @ 18:32
Comment from: Pam Lakatos [Visitor]

I became a Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer in 2004 when I left the Denton DA’s office. I have been practicing exclusively criminal law for approximately 31 years. I remember the hopes expressed by the attornies I met who stated that the new DA, John Roach, would be a breath of fresh air to this county. Instead I have been horrified by what I have seen. It is not like I haven’t seen abuse of power and corruption elsewhere in this State-of course I have, but I have never seen such an open display of contempt for lawyers or other public officials that I have seen demonstrated these past few years. I kept hoping that things would change, that at some point he would become aware of the things going on in his office and exersize some sort of control and leadership in reigning in the zealots. As he has not I am forced to accept he agrees with all that they are doing. His tenure has left a black spot on the reputation of Collin County. (Just ask any lawyer you know-from any surrounding county what the they think of Collin County. Most will not take any cases here because “they are crazy out of control” up there.)
Anyone who seeks his endorsement will be someone who I don’t think I could be persuaded to vote for.

Every Collin County citizen owes it to themselves and every other resident to make an effort to investigate these allegations and then get out and vote.

We have a number of good candidates running for office this time. Do the homework and make your vote count. Every one cast is critical.

I have no idea what our future will be but I pray it is better than it has been. It can be if our citizens become informed active voters.
John Roach is correct when he says he is the most powerful elected official in this county-that is true of every county. The District Attorney’s power is reinforced by his almost complete immunity from law suits to disagreements over how the office is run and what policies are in place. The average citizen has no idea of this and only realizes it when he/she is unfortunate enough to have dealings with that office-either civil or criminal. It is a position that is best held by someone who is humble, experienced and willing to listen when the actions of the office are challenged. A District Attorney must also have similar skills to the CEO of a major corporation. Vote-it will be the most important thing you do for the future of this county.

Permalink 11/24/09 @ 10:12
Comment from: Lance Baxter [Visitor]
Many of the responses that you are receiving now are from lawyers that are not only defending the reputation of Greg Willis, but also trying to defend the integrity of our Collin County system of justice. Your demand to bring in an independent/special prosecutor is the only acceptable and fair manner in which any investigation should progress. None of us know the facts, but we have all heard the rumors. If fact witness to the allegations are employees of the current Collin County District Attorney’s Office, then there is clearly a conflict of interest and the appearance of unfairness. The fact that Greg Willis is currently involved in a political campaign raises questions about the timing and motivation behind all of this. The fact that the investigation has been made public and that many lawyers have been subpoenaed to testify makes one question if this is the best use of our grand jury system. It would all be less suspect if the history of the “specialized crimes” unit had not proven itself inept and out of control. Our DA’s office should be prosecuting crimes and seeking justice, not trying to manipulate conduct into criminal activity.
Permalink 11/24/09 @ 11:08
Comment from: Bob Hultkrantz [Visitor]

I am a past president of the Collin County Bar Association. It is deplorable that the Collin County DA’s Office has wasted the time of it’s staff and the citizens of this County’s money trying to prosecute Judge Wooten and now Judge Willis. Both are decent, compassionate individuals whom you would love to have sitting as Judge in your, or a family member’s, case. Fairness, decency and justice are terms that permeate there courtrooms.

I understand that all of the goings on are secret but I would like to hear from the DA’s Office as to why they are pursuing these two indivduals. Give us some facts, give us some insight or quit the witch-hunt and let’s move on to the next generation of justice in Collin County.

Permalink 11/24/09 @ 11:19
Comment from: Heather Barbieri [Visitor]

If you ever wonder whether people feel intimidated, just look at how many anonymous responses are on here. Need I say more?

As for Greg Willis, anyone with any decency who has met him knows he is cloaked in integrity. He could cite the Code of Judicial Conduct, and served as referee to many a heated battle–never choosing sides. So I actually thought it was a sick joke, when I began hearing about it. Didn’t he even have us do the Pledge of Allegiance before each trial?

The responsibility for “not guilty” verdicts rest solely on the DA’s “policies.” We all know that cases lacking merit should be dismissed. Over the past several years, juries have repeatedly complained about these cases, and the waste of their time spent on them. Our juries consist of many busy, successful people, who do not need their time wasted on such matters. Surely, our taxpayers voices should be heard by their elected officials.

Judges uphold a vow, and under Canon 3, they must acquit–otherwise, the higher courts would quickly reverse them, and probably wonder how on earth a highly-educated Judge could find someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when the proof was non-existent. Clearly, the “policy” was simply a Pontius Pilate tactic at laying blame.

Judge Wooten is another shocking example. She is such an ethical Judge. It makes no sense. Our taxpayers elected her to be our Judge, and to try to circumvent that is a slap in the face to our Collin County voters.

Simply put, a special prosecutor should be designated for these matters. If these grand jury investigations are all “objective,” and done in good-faith, then they can both confidently be assigned to a special prosecutor. All prosecutors (including special prosecutors) must follow TDRPC 3.09,anyway, so it should be a no-brainer.

Either way, nobody should feel intimidated to speak out. We have a First Amendment right to speak out mind. Thanks, Bill for pointing to the Giant Elephant that has been in the room for far too long. My job as attorney is important to me, but my honor is greater. I want my family and children to always know I stood up for what I believed in. So I won’t be anonymous. Thank you.

Permalink 11/24/09 @ 11:42
Comment from: Todd Henderson [Visitor]
The arrogance with
which the District Attorney’s office is run is stunning. It’s evident that John Roach and Greg Davis believe that the best use of this office and taxpayer money is to bully people that don’t fall in line with what they expect.Make no mistake, this isn’t about making sure everyone follows the law. This is about bullying people who don’t lay down for Roach. It’s unfortunate that it’s worked on many of the judges in this county – they just fall right in line and don’t dare challenge him.

Despite running things from the satellite office in Angelfire, NM, Roach insists on manipulating this election so that he can have some say in who succeeds him. He wants to handpick his successor. And he’s made it clear that none of the current candidates are qualified. Of course, judging by his performance, it doesn’t appear Roach was qualified either.

It’s too bad that he’s able to hide behind the secrecy of grand jury investigations and the citizens of Collin County won’t get to see how much time and money has been wasted on political witch hunts and personal vendettas over the last 7 years.

Permalink 11/24/09 @ 14:07
Comment from: Paul Stuckle [Visitor]

John Roach has used grand juries as his personal playtoy for many years going after lawyers for no apparent reason. He has attempted to destroy many careers just as he is now trying to do with Judge’s Willis and Wooten.

Both Judges have outstanding reputations which will not be tarnished no matter what the latest Roach witch hunt attempts to do.

I hope Judge Willis and Wooten find a way to sue those responsible for this reprehensible smear campaign on their reputations and livelihood.

The bar should no longer tolerate these baseless attacks and personal invasions.

Permalink 11/24/09 @ 15:36